Apple’s September event is an annual ritual that many of us look forward to each fall. We expect to see new iPhones, a new Apple Watch and, hopefully, a surprise. And, if rumors are true, we will see just how much Apple has changed in recent years, but the evidence will not be Apple removing the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Yes, all the leaks, spy shots, case molds, and recent accessory announcements suggest that Apple will indeed be removing the 3.5mm headphone jack from their iPhones.
That will mean anyone who wants to listen to music in private will need to either use one of the new headphones or earphones that have a Lightning connector in place of the 3.5mm headphone jack or use Bluetooth. (That’s not such a bad thing since Bluetooth headphones sound better and get better battery life and range than ever!) That change, if/when it comes to pass, will garner discussion — hell, it already has. It should come as no surprise, however. After all, Apple is known to make bold changes in the connectivity of their devices as part of their design and technology evolution.
So sure, the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack is a big deal, but it is not unexpected. It doesn’t tell us anything new about Apple and, in fact, reinforces the idea of Apple simply being Apple. But there IS a change that tells us something new. There is an expected change that reveals the fact that, in the five years since Tim Cook took over and Apple matured as a company that is willing to “Think Different.” And by “Think Different” I don’t mean about technology. By “Think Different” I mean “Think Different” about themselves.
What is that change?
All reports now suggest Apple will be including a 3.5mm to Lightning adapter with each new iPhone.
This is a big deal!
This is something new for Apple!
This will, if it comes to pass, tell us that Apple really is Tim Cook’s company now and that Steve Jobs presence has receded to a degree not previously seen.
Apple has long taken bold steps to remove or change connectivity options in their products. It was Apple that removed FireWire. It was Apple that removed the optical drive from Macbooks and, later, iMacs. It was Apple that swapped out their original iPod/iPhone connector for Lightning, and it was Apple that weathered the storm of criticism when it happened. But the criticism wasn’t really about Apple changing ports and connections. No, the criticism was about Apple saying, “We are changing these ports and connections, and you have one of three choices: get new peripherals, buy pricey adapters, or don’t use our products.” Yes, each change reminded consumers that Apple is one of the most arrogant companies to ever exist. Their hubris can, at times, make some politicians look downright humble, and we saw it over and over again.
Want a new MacBook but still need to access DVDs and CDs? Buy an external optical drive.
Want to use your old peripherals with the new 12” MacBook? Buy an adapter. Heck, the Huawei MateBook I am reviewing included a USB-C to USB 3.0 adapter in the box!
Want to use your old cables and speakers with the new iPhone or iPad? Buy an adapter or, better yet, get new cables and speakers.
Time and again, Apple has made a change and then let consumers adapt. And until the griping died down, and it always did, Apple simply ignored them.It was hubris of the Apple variety.
But that seems to have changed.
Yes, all reports are that Apple will be including an adapter so that consumers can continue to use their headphones with 3.5mm plugs despite the removal of the 3.5mm port from the new iPhones.
This isn’t a small thing. While in the past Apple would have SOLD a 3.5mm to Lightning adapter — likely for a ridiculous $30, this time they are actually including it in the box, for free! And that’s the thing that tells us Apple is a new company. For the first time, we will have tangible proof that Apple actually gives a hoot about consumer upset. For the first time, Apple is willing to eat a small expense in order to keep people happy.
And that is not the Apple of Steve Jobs.
No, this is the Apple of Tim Cook and, as Carly pointed out when we were discussing this, it may well showcase the fact that Tim Cook is a strong operations manager. As such, he more than Steve Jobs may be able to think outside the box and, in the process, look at the bigger picture. He may well have been able to figure out how to include the adapter without cutting into Apple’s bottom line. Or, he may well have decided that the added expense was a small price to pay in order to avoid the outrage that would have otherwise come with this move to remove the 3.5mm port.
Or, considering the way in which Tim Cook is able to manage the supply chain, it may have been a bit of both. Either way, under Steve Jobs it would have been unheard of for Apple to include a transitional adapter for free. Under Tim Cook it looks like that is exactly what will happen.
And THAT, speaks to a new Apple that is actually willing to anticipate consumer reactions and take steps to mitigate upset.